Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Schizophrenic cannibal
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: March 18, 1993 / February 17/April 25, 2004
Date of birth: 1970
Victims profile: Nisha Sheth, 20 (shop assistant) / Brian Cherry, 43 (friend) / Richard Loudwell, 60 (fellow patient)
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer / Strangulation
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to closed psychiatric confinement in 1993. Released in 2004. Sentenced to life in prison on March 15, 2005

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Series of blunders frees schizophrenic cannibal Peter Bryan, who kills 2 more people

By Alexandra Hazlett -

Thursday, September 3rd 2009

A serious of egregious errors resulted in the deaths of two people, after medical staff released a mentally ill convicted killer from the mental health center where he was living.

Peter Bryan, a schizophrenic, cannibal and convicted murderer was released from the medium-security Riverside House to a hostel where he was free to come and go, according to an article in the British paper, the Telegraph.

Merely three hours after his discharge from the facility in 2004, he killed Brian Cherry, a friend, and cooked part of his brain, the paper stated.

After that murder, Bryan was sent to Broadmore secure hospital, where not even 10 days later he attacked and killed Richard Loudwell, a fellow patient.

Two inquiries into Bryan's case faulted National Health Service managers for leaving the now 39-year-old killer in the care of a social worker with no mental health training and who was in over his head dealing with a notoriously manipulative patient, according to the London Evening Standard.

However, the reports noted that the nature of his condition meant that Bryan was incredibly manipulative, and able to appear normal even as his mental health was incredibly deteriorated.

The reports "outlined a catalogue of errors" according to the Telegraph, in the treatment of Bryan following his 1993 murder of Nisha Sheth, a shop assistant whom he beat to death with a hammer.


Brain-eating killer claimed two more victims because of 'systematic' NHS failures

03rd September 2009

A 'systematic failure' in the treatment of a schizophrenic allowed him to murder a friend and eat parts of his brain before he went on to kill a fellow patient in Broadmoor, two separate reports have revealed.

Convicted killer Peter Bryan was given permission to live in a hostel in north London where he could come and go as he pleased.

He had been admitted to a secure hospital after beating shop assistant Nisha Sheth to death with a hammer in 1993.

But eight years later, mental health experts decided he could live in the community under supervision.

In 2002 he moved to the hostel and at the beginning of 2004 social workers applied for his transfer to 'low support accommodation' but four weeks later Bryan murdered his friend Brian Cherry, 43, and cooked and ate his flesh.

In a damning report into the case, authors found that while living in the community Bryan was looked after by an inexperienced social worker and a psychiatrist who had never worked with a convicted killer.

The report found 'there was, however, a systemic failure to ensure that the key professionals allocated to care for Peter Bryan in the community had the necessary experience to deal with someone with his forensic history and complex presentation.

'The two professionals, who were a supervising psychiatrist and social supervisor, for this unusual and complicated patient were a general adult psychiatrist who never before had had responsibility for a patient who had killed someone, and a very inexperienced social worker who had no training in mental health.'

Following the killing, Bryan was sent to Broadmoor but within two months killed fellow patient Richard Loudwell, 59.

The report outlined a catalogue of errors in the way East London NHS Foundation Trust dealt with Bryan.

A psychiatrist and social worker assigned to him should never have been given the responsibility for taking care of Bryan while he was in the community, it concluded.

He was transferred to the medium secure ward of the John Howard Centre in Hackney, north east London, after spending seven-and-a-half years in a high secure unit at Rampton Hospital.

It was typical that a patient in his condition would spend around two years at such a centre.

But after just six months he was transferred as a secured patient to a forensic hostel - Riverside House in north London.

It was there that an 'inexperienced' social worker was appointed to look after him.

The report found he had been a general social worker for only five months.

The panel said: 'He had no training in mental health and no experience as a social worker working with psychiatric patients, let alone mentally disordered offenders.'

The social worker was not 'an appropriate choice' to care for Bryan, the report found.

A supervising psychiatrist assigned to him at this stage was also found to have never had responsibility for someone who had committed murder.

This led to a 'lack of effective management of Bryan in the community'.

The report also criticised the decision to reduce the dosage of medication Bryan was receiving at the hostel after he complained to staff.

This reduction could have been a factor in the eventual deterioration of his mental health, the report found.

This led in 2003 to Bryan being placed in a position where he was allowed to self-medicate.

The trust was also criticised after it emerged that it had not acted swiftly enough after an allegation that he indecently assaulted a 17-year-old girl.

The report said it was 'seriously concerned' that despite the allegation, no attempt was made by the hostel or his social worker to contact the Home Office at the earliest possible opportunity.

Following the alleged indecent assault, Bryan was moved 'for his own safety' from the hostel after being threatened by the girl's family.

He was temporarily placed on a psychiatric ward at the Newham Centre in London in early February 2004 but just two weeks later Bryan was given permission to leave the ward temporarily.

He went straight to a DIY shop where he bought a claw hammer, Stanley knife and a screwdriver and then went to kill Brian Cherry.

Police were called to Cherry's flat to discover a semi-naked Bryan brandishing a carving knife and covered in dried blood.

Both of Cherry's arms and one of his legs had been severed from his body.

In the kitchen parts of Cherry's flesh were found cooking in a frying pan.

Bryan told police following his arrest: 'I ate his brains with butter. It was really nice.'

He was sent to Broadmoor but shortly after his arrival he struck again, killing Loudwell.

A second report released today criticised West London Mental Health NHS Trust for failures in the case.

Loudwell died after sustaining serious head injuries in the attack, which took place in the dining room of the ward.

No staff were present in the dining room at the time.

The report said Bryan had been intending to kill Loudwell for some time prior to the attack.

Loudwell complained that he was being bullied by other patients, but his pleas to staff were ignored, the report found.

'Bullying was not treated sufficiently seriously by any member of the clinical team, nor was it given the priority it merited in Loudwell's case.'

The report criticised the Trust for not carrying out a risk assessment on Bryan before he attacked Loudwell.

The report stated: 'Had a risk assessment been carried out properly, then it is likely that Peter Bryan would have been recognised as highly dangerous.'

The report found that it was 'not appropriate' that patients on the ward were allowed out of the sight of staff.

The health trusts involved apologised for failures in the handling of the case but revealed that nobody had been disciplined as a result.

Bryan was able to function in such a way that made it difficult for even experienced health professionals to detect just how dangerous he was, the reports found.

Dr Robert Dolan, chief executive of East London NHS Foundation Trust, said: 'We offer our deepest and most sincere condolences to everyone affected by this case.

'Peter Bryan clearly had a very severe and complex mental illness. In his lengthy contact with a range of services and a range of professionals, he was able to function at a high social level and did not display any of the typical behaviour or symptoms one would associate with a severe mental illness.

'We accept that elements of the care provided to Mr Bryan could have been better but we also note that the independent report does not say the killing of Mr Cherry could have been predicted.'

He said an action plan had been implemented following the case to improve the trust's quality of care.

Peter Cubbon, chief executive of West London Mental Health NHS Trust, apologised to Mr Loudwell's family.

He said: 'He was a patient in our care and we failed to ensure his safety.

'We also failed Peter Bryan and our apology is unequivocal.'

Following Mr Loudwell's death, the Trust has reduced the number of patients on the ward where the killing took place.

There are now also increased numbers of qualified nurses working on the ward and more patient observation.

Asked about the Bryan case, health minister Mike O'Brien told BBC Radio 4's World at One: 'This is something that raises some very worrying issues and we want to be sure we look at this with a great deal of care.

'If changes are necessary they will be made.'

Shadow Health Minister Anne Milton said: 'This shocking report shows a complete failure of mental health and social services to protect both the public and a very sick mentally ill man.

'It appears that there were repeated mistakes that ended in tragic consequences for the victims and their families and our sympathy is with them having to face the loss of a relative in such horrific circumstances.

'Everyone has been let down and we need to make sure that systems are in place to ensure that mentally ill people who are such a risk to the public are in specialist secure care, not wandering our streets.'

Barbara Young, chairman of the Care Quality Commission, added: 'This is a disturbing and tragic story.

'Providing healthcare to this group of patients requires a high degree of skill and expertise.

'But this report clearly illustrates just how badly things can go wrong when secure institutions have poor safeguards in place to protect people.

'We have already taken action at Broadmoor. Our recent investigation identified a series of problems and proposed significant improvements that will make the service safer. We have been encouraged by the response.'

Loudwell's family hit out over the way they have been treated. His sister, who is not named, said: 'The terrible feelings that this family experienced from when we initially learned of the attack on Richard have turned to anger and cynicism.'

She said the family have never forgotten that another family are still suffering from Loudwell's own actions after he killed pensioner Joan Smythe in 2002, but 'expected that people would be kept safe from Richard, and that he would be kept safe from others' once inside Broadmoor.

His family said he called his mother from the ward the day before he was attacked to say he feared for his life and was being bullied.

A family spokeswoman said they were 'truly unprepared for the shocking scale and catalogue of failings at all levels and in all disciplines of staff at Broadmoor which contributed to Richard's death'.

She said family members were 'horrified' when they were given details of what happened to Loudwell in March 2009.

In a statement, Loudwell's sister condemned 'the way that we have been treated by the trust, the long delay in the trust accepting or apologising for the collective failings that led to Richard's death, and the apparent persistent failure of the trust to learn the lessons from their failure to keep Richard safe'.

Kate Maynard, the family's solicitor, added they had been left with the 'difficult decision' of whether to try to represent themselves at an upcoming inquest into Loudwell's death or 'invest their life savings in legal costs'.

'This state of affairs is deeply unjust,' she said. 


Peter Bryan: The Real Hannibal Lecter

By Peter Stubley

Cannibal Peter Bryan found his 'appetite for killing' after he battered a young woman to death in a fashionable Kings Road boutique.

He had fallen for Nisha Sheth, the 20-year-old daughter of the shop's owners, while working as a shop assistant but was sacked after being caught stealing clothes.

A week later on March 18 1993, Bryan, then aged 23 and living in Derby Street, Forest Gate, East London, returned to get his revenge.

He knocked Nisha's 12 year-old brother Bobby to the floor and battered her over the head with a claw hammer as she chatted on the phone. Nisha was dead before the ambulance arrived.

An hour later Bryan, high on cannabis, jumped from the third floor balcony of a building in Battersea in an apparent suicide attempt. He survived and admitted the manslaughter of Nisha on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He was locked up in the Rampton maximum security psychiatric unit 'without limit of time' but was released on the advice of psychiatrists nine years later.

Bryan now had the chilling ability to mask his madness under a veneer of normality. 

A short stay at the Riverside House residential care home in Seven Sisters, north London, ended when he was caught 'blowing raspberries' on a 16-year-old girl's stomach.

He was then treated as a care in the community patient at Topaz Ward in Newham General Hospital but on February 17, 2004, it was agreed Bryan could leave the ward as much as he wanted. By 7pm that night he had killed his second victim Brian Cherry and begun to dismember the body.


Mr Cherry, 43, who was described as a 'nice man, lonely with no friends' lived at a ground floor flat at 1 Manning House, The Drive, Walthamstow, east London.

At around 7.15pm his friend Nicola Newman let herself into the flat at around 7.15pm and noticed a strong smell of disinfectant.

Bryan then emerged from the living room bare-chested and holding a knife to announce: 'Brian is dead.'

'She naturally did not believe him and tried to look into the room,' prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee told the Old Bailey.

'She saw Mr Cherry lying naked on the floor and could see one of his arms on the floor clearly separated from the rest of his body.'

The police arrived to find Bryan standing in the hallway in the dark with bloodstained hands, jeans and trainers.

In the kitchen officers noticed a small amount of meat in a frying pan next to an open tub of Clover butter.

The meat was part of Mr Cherry's brain. More brain tissue and hair matted with blood was heaped on a plate next to a knife and fork on the draining board.

Bryan told officers he had killed Mr Cherry after the victim opened his door and then said: 'I ate his brain with butter, it was really nice.'

He later added: 'I would have done someone else if you hadn't come along. I wanted their souls.'


Mr Cherry's skull had been smashed open with at least 24 blows from the hammer and his head had been partly sawn off.

Bryan had also had hacked off his right leg and both arms. Blood was spattered around the living room and three blood-stained knives were strewn around the floor.

MrJafferjee said: 'The severed left leg was partly sawn and partly fractured. At the top of the right left the muscle had been completely divided and superficial sawing of the bone had commenced.

'The pathologist concluded the defendant had been interrupted before he could complete the amputation of that limb.'

Bryan later admitted that he was 'comforted by the smell of blood' and added: 'I used the Stanley knife to cut them off and some other kitchen knives but I had to stamp on them to break the bone.'

Even at Pentonville jail he told a member of staff he wanted to kill a warder and eat someone's nose and prison officers had to use riot shields when unlocking his cell in case of attack.

Bryan was finally admitted to Broadmoor maximum security hospital on April 15, 2004, and kept in a cell. But yet another blunder meant doctors believed he had 'settled' and could be transferred to a medium risk ward.

'There was a significant failure within the Mental Health care regime in recognising the danger that the defendant presented,' said Mr Jafferjee.

'Even more startling is the fact that such a capacity for failure within this regime was to manifest itself again in just a few weeks time.'


Third victim, Richard Loudwell, 60, was awaiting trial for the murder of an 82-year-old woman and was a patient on the same ward.

On the day of his death, April 25, 2004, Mr Loudwell was 'happy, cheering and laughing.' But at around 6.10pm three members of staff heard two bangs coming from the dining room and found Mr Loudwell lying on the floor next to a table and chair.

His face was covered in blood and there was a strangulation mark around his neck. He died on June 5 from broncho-pneumonia caused by severe brain injuries.

When Bryan was found he admitted he had tried to strangle Mr Loudwell with a piece of cord and smashed his head on the floor.

Bryan told doctors: 'I get these urges you see. I've had these urges ever since I saw him. He's the bottom of the food chain, old and haggard. He looked like he'd had his innings.

'I was just waiting for my chance to get at him. I wanted to kill him and eat him. I didn't have much time. If I did I'd have tried to cook him and eat him.'

Asked if wanting to eat people was normal, he replied: 'Of course it's normal. Cannibalism is normal.

It's been here for centuries. If I was on the street I'd go for someone bigger, you know, for the challenge.

'I felt excited when I attacked him. I wanted to shag him when he was alive and also when he was dead.

'I wanted to cook him but there was no time, nor was there access to cooking equipment. I briefly considered eating him raw.'

He named another patient as his next target and added: 'It's something like a ritual. I must be becoming a serial something.'

Mr Jafferjee said: 'He believed that the human body was a natural food source and it made him stronger. He had wanted to kill eight people because he wanted to be known as a serial killer.'

Bryan even told the doctors he thought he would be released into the community again despite killing three people.


Psychiatrist Dr Martin Lock, who carried out a series of 'Silence of the Lambs' style interviews with Bryan said he was 'the most dangerous man I have ever assessed.'

He told the doctor: 'You look like a brainy chap and you are quite slim. I think I could take you.'

Bryan also described the victim's arms and leg as 'tasting like chicken.'

MrJafferjee said Bryan should die behind bars and added: 'He is at his most deadly when he is able to present himself as entirely calm and settled.

'This case reveals a chilling insight into the mind of a man who had developed an appetite for killing.'

Bryan was given a whole life sentence and will never be released from Broadmoor again.

Judge Giles Forrester told Bryan: 'You had the urge not only to kill but also to eat the flesh of your victims.

'You experienced feelings of power and invincibility. Not only that but you gained sexual excitement from the act of battering your victims to death.

'The earlier treatment at hospital did not cure your disease and there is no reason to believe a hospital order now will do what it failed to achieve back in 1994.

'It is clear that you can appear calm and cooperative while harbouring bizarre psychotic beliefs.'



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